Samhain – The Ancient Pagan’s New Year

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samhain halloween ireland

Hello everyone! Welcome to today’s post, Samhain The Ancient Pagan’s New Year!

A long time ago, thousands of years before Halloween was turned into a commercial, ghastly and scary holiday, Samhain was once THE most important seasons that the Ancient Pagans of Ireland, and then later the Celts celebrated. Samhain was, and still is honoured to this day in Pagan/Wicca individuals and communities. The ancients had highly powerful psychic abilities, you can find out more here!

If you were unaware, the Pagans of Ancient Ireland had a circular map calendar system that they created, they were so closely connected to nature and the skies –

  • Samhain

  • Imbolc

  • Beltane

  • Lughnasadh

Halloween Or Samhain?

samhain halloween pagan ireland

The Pagans began their spiritual traditions on or before October 31st. Halloween which means All Hallow’s Evening and Samhain means New Year. The weeks leading up to Samhain were all about harvesting the land for enough food and meat over the long winter ahead.

It is also a time when the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds are at their thinnest and there was connection to and from both of the realms. There is only one other day when this is also possible, which lands on the first day of spring, 1st of May. It is Goddess Brigid who is remembered on this day of Imbolc.samhain halloween ireland pagan

Samhain, being the highest and greatest festival to Pagans, they would have had roars of feasts where they would take so much pleasure and pride in themselves and their culture.

The celebration would have been vast and exciting for everyone to come together after a long and hard harvest whilst braving the rocky climate of Ireland. They had no other choice, nor did they know of any better.

I can imagine them working the land in a scurry and hope that they had enough crops, herbs and all the while looking after their families and livestock.

What a super relief it would have been to have the security of well stocked produce and it’s very easy to almost feel their happiness and joy in welcoming in their New Year.

A Night To Remember

They would have lit candles and left some of there food and wine as offerings to any wandering spirit outside of there villages to give the lost soul a boost of energy in their midst.

samhain halloween ireland pagan

Spiritual and supernatural were one and the same for these amazing people. They were certainly far from being oblivious about where they came from as honoring and remembering their ancestors was just as important, if not more than their fun and games.

As they worked hard in the run up to Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve),both physically, mentally and spiritually, it gave them time to reflect on themselves on a personal level. They would have remembered loved ones that had passed away and what impact they had on them.

How powerful would the cool air have felt as they danced and welcomed their ancestors to join them so they could be together again.

samhain halloween ireland pagan

Traditions Of Dressing Up

They used to dress up and make costumes so they would purposely resemble monsters and animals, not to scare the next door neighbor, but to ward off any faeries that may have wanted to kidnap them! It was well-known how the faeries thrilled themselves in playing tricks on the merry folk.

There is an ancient pagan story of a shape-shifting monster that was known as a Pocca. The Pocca were the ones that used to take the offerings that the pagans had carefully and lovingly laid out for the wandering souls. Pocca is the Irish word for ghost. They were neither ones of good or bad fortune but the pagan’s didn’t want to find out as they celebrated their work and ancestors.

Bringing Dark Into Light

According to legend, many a meeting happened within the communities around the time of Samhain. And where else to have such gatherings but at the Hill Of Tara. Rival clans were given the opportunity to come to a cease fire in order to keep the peace for the beginning of the New Year.

Discussions would have taken place about any future events or goings-on that may crop up over the year. Even if they were entering the darker half of the year, they were bringing light within them by ironing out differences and having knowledge of what was happening within the communities.

How The Irish Celebrate Halloween/Samhain Today

Halloween has always been a special time for the Irish, whether they know about its sacred origins or not. With the kids wearing their trick or treat outfits ranging from cackling little witches to menacing vampires, the streets are alive with great fun.

There will no other doubt be a raging bonfire in the middle of a little field every couple of neighborhoods with the local young teens hunched around gathering heat and enjoying time off from school for a week or so.samhain halloween ireland pagan

With a firework display not too far from anywhere you are in Dublin especially, a good bowl of Irish Stew warms the bones before enjoying the explosions of sound and colours in the freezing air!

Fun Fact About Me –

For me personally, ever since my Mother dressed me up as a banshee with an old bed sheet, I’ve always adored Halloween!

Samhain is a magical time for me as my birthday falls on October 31st, but not just for that reason alone…

The energies are extremely high and exciting. I always feel a connection with my ancestors, whomever they were. They must have been pretty amazing people because YOU are reading this.

I really believe that there’s a bit of Irish in everyone and Samhain is the perfect time to connect with yourself and see what feelings and emotions you experience. They may just well be messages from your ancestors.

Light a candle if you feel drawn to and who knows? Maybe your eyes will smile like the Irish!samhain halloween ireland pagan

Many thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. Please comment or leave a query down below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can

Happy Haunting!



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  1. The history of halloween is pretty spooky and interesting. Its such a huge occasion around the world and i never knew about its history. Great read.
    In ireland you get a week off from school for halloween?? I am jealous.

    • Hi Aaron,

      Yes, the origins of Halloween are very exciting and eerie, it’s a fabulous time of the year, especially when you know the backround story!
      Of course, kids love dressing up and collecting sweets and treats from their neighbours that they can enjoy on their time off from school.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Happy Haunting!
      All the best,
      Gayle :-))

  2. Hello,

    This was interesting. I have never thought about Halloween being part of history like that. And to wear some kind of “costumes” to scare fairies from kidnapping them, this is a shock for me! It is a wonder how we changed things that had meaning and now it is just for entertainment mostly.

    • Hello,

      It’s quite an eye opener when we actually delve into the origins of certain festivities and holidays like Halloween! I agree with you how things that had meanning have changed so much.
      Many thanks for your comment,
      Gayle :-))

  3. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. Halloween is a widely recognized tradition but most people like me knew little about the history of Halloween and how the costume selections are made. With the help of your article, these things are revealed. Thanks a lot

    • Hi Benny,

      Thanks for your feedback. 

      I really appreciate your time in looking over my post.

  4. Thank you for your writing the “Summer’s End” fallacy of October 31st, aka Halloween / Samhain. I knew that Samhain was the name for the month of November, but had no idea that it didn’t mean “Summer’s End.” That’s always been the popular story I’ve heard, but your writing makes much more sense.
    By the way, you said that your birthday also fall on October 31 and felt “the energies are extremely high and exciting. I always feel a connection with my ancestors, whomever they were.”
    How can you have this feeling?

    • Hi,

      I may have failed to mention that Samhain is a Pagan seasinal change of the time of year, I didn’t want to put off others by telling them the true origins.

      I hope you can understand so.

      Basically, Halloween is the traditional time of year when it holds the 24-hour gap of souls are free to roam wherever they please.

      That’s where the dressing up comes from. To scare away the evil spirits.

      For me, I feel blessed and connect with all that is, was and will.

      There is nothing to fear. My birthday makes me feel alive every year, I can’t explain the feeling

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